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Lat: 0.4°S, Long: 32.7°E, Diam: 3 km, Depth: 1.039 km, Rükl 47

external image normal_Censorinus_LO-IV-073H_LTVT.JPG
LO-IV-073H: The image is centered on 7-km diameter Censorinus A. Censorinus itself is the smaller, bright-haloed crater to its left. The 15-km crater to the right of Censorinus A is labeled Censorinus AB (a name no longer officially recognized by the IAU) on the AIC map, and the still larger one half-visible along the right-hand margin is Maskelyne A (29 km). Censorinus, together with its halo, is, visible as a bright, sometimes-diffuse, patch at all sun angles; but at low sun angles, Censorinus A (also dusted with the bright ejecta) is more prominent on Earth-based photos.


LPOD Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter Images Apollo Images

  • Lunar Orbiter 5's Frame 063 is an interesting "low-sun" close-up of the bright ray-craterlet Censorinus and the nearby dim crater Censorinus A (which was called the "SP crater" during the hey-days of the Apollo program). - DannyCaes Feb 24, 2008
  • In addition to the images found in the preceding Apollo Images search, Censorinus is visible (south up) in AS10-28-4038, AS10-28-4039, and AS10-28-4040.
  • More orbital Apollo 10 photographs of Censorinus: AS10-31-4575, 4576, and 4579.- DannyCaes Sep 3, 2013


(LAC zone 79A1) LAC map Geologic map AIC map
USGS Geologic Map of the Censorinus Region of the Moon (I-811)


Description: Elger

(IAU Directions) CENSORINUS.--A brilliant little crater, with very bright surroundings, in the Mare Tranquillitatis, nearly on the moon's equator, in E. long. 32 deg. 22 min. Another smaller but less conspicuous crater adjoins it on the E. On the Mare to the S. extends a delicate cleft which trends towards the Sabine and Ritter rill system.

  • Note: Since Censorinus A (7 km) is larger than Censorinus (3 km), Elger's description of Censorinus as lying to the west of a smaller crater is inexplicable unless he regarded the entire bright area around Censorinus as part of the feature.- Jim Mosher

Description: Wikipedia


Additional Information

  • Depth data from Kurt Fisher database
    • Pike, 1976: 1.039 km
    • Westfall, 2000: 1.04 km
    • Viscardy, 1985: 0.38 km
  • Included in ALPO list of bright ray craters
  • A thermal anomaly crater, implying a youthful age - Moore et al, 1980
  • The Clementine UVIS Color Ratio map makes it especially clear that the ejecta originate from the smaller crater. - Jim Mosher
  • Although the Apollo 10 astronauts had described Censorinus as looking "pretty rough", with large blocks strewn inside and outside the crater (El Baz, 1969), it was still among the destinations considered for Apollo 15 (Wilhelms, 1986), and remained a strong candidate in post-Apollo planning (Kostoff et al., 1970 -- see referenceces). - Jim Mosher
  • Censorinus, and its companions, feature prominently in a 1975 article by Cameron and Lowrey (see referenceces) which proposed that the bright rays were of volcanic origin (produced by gaseous outburst blasting the surface), and that volcanism in this region, in particular, was one of several responsible for tektites found on Earth (both ideas which were not accepted by most other scientists). - Jim Mosher
  • Based on Lunar Orbiter V views, Mutch, 1970 (p. 66 and Figure IV-6) offers Censorinus, along with Mösting C and Euclides, as examples of a common class of fresh craters with "circular plan views, simple cup-like profiles, sharply raised rims, and prominent surrounding ejecta, frequently with a hummocky inner facies and a radial outer facies." Subsequent photos from Apollo clearly demonstrate that Censorinus has fluted conical walls surrounding a flat floor (see, for example Hasselblad image AS15-81-10996 in which Censorinus is the bright crater below Censorinus A). - Jim Mosher


  • Named for Censorinus (fl. A.D. 238), a Roman grammarian, astronomer and miscellaneous writer, who flourished during the 3rd century AD.
  • According to Whitaker (p. 211), the name Censorinus was introduced by Riccioli. Doppelmayer's version of Riccioli's map, shows that this was one of several names Riccioli assigned to individual features in the northern part of the bright highland area he named Terra Mannæ. The other names are Promontorium Aculum(?), Beda, Exiguus (apparently Dionysius Exiguus in the original), and Alcuinus, none of which were used by later observers (or, at least, were not adopted by the IAU). Whitaker does not list the first of these names, but believes the latter three correspond to the modern features Censorinus N, Censorinus C and Lubbock N. Whitaker believes Riccioli's Censorinus was the same as the modern feature, but given the chaotic nature of this region and the low resolution of Riccioli's map, it would seem difficult to be certain Riccioli meant the name to apply to this 3-km diameter crater as opposed to some larger feature in the the area, such as Censorinus A, Censorinus AB, Maskelyne A or possibly the bright area around Censorinus. - Jim Mosher
  • The names Censorinus and Censorinus A, for the west and east craters, were adopted into the original IAU nomenclature of Named Lunar Formations (1935) based on their usage by Neison, Schmidt and Beer and Mädler. - Jim Mosher
  • Ruin Basin's western hill (a nickname from D.Caes for the officially unnamed hill west of both NASA's Ruin Basin and Censorinus J).

LPOD Articles

Ring Around a Basin. Lunar Ice discovered in 1904 (W.H.Pickering's somewhat odd observations of the high-albedo nimbus at Censorinus)


  • Cameron, W. S. and Lowrey, B. E. 1975. Tektites - Volcanic ejecta from the moon. The Moon, vol. 12, p. 331-360.
  • El-Baz, F. 1969. Apollo 10 Photo Debriefing (PDF), Bellcom Memo, p. 3.
  • Kostoff, R. N., Orrok, G. T., Shapiro, S., Sill, W. R. and Vernon, A. R. 1969. Post Apollo Exploration (PDF), Bellcom Memo, see Fig. 3.1 (between pages 11 and 12).
  • Wilhelms, D. E. 1986. Selection of the Apollo 15 landing site. Workshop on the Geology and Petrology of the Apollo 15 Landing Site. A Lunar and Planetary Institute Workshop held November 13-15, 1986, at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, in Houston, Texas. Edited by Paul D. Spudis and Graham Ryder. LPI Technical Report 86-03, p.116